Editors Note:

The Dow is booming thanks in part to one of our positions. Boeing has added 200 points to the Dow over the last two months while Nvidia has done the same thing for the Nasdaq. Unfortunately, the rest of the big cap techs have been choppy and that is keeping the Nasdaq from performing as well as the Dow.

Lots of earnings this week. Check the portfolio graphic for some changes to earnings dates.

In theory, investing in LEAPS is a long-term proposition where we hold over earnings in anticipation of a long-term gain. LEAPS should be exited in the normal November rally.

Original Play Recommendations (Alpha by Symbol)

AABA - Altaba Company Profile


No specific news. The dip in Alibaba last week knocked AABA back to the support of the 30-day average.

Original Trade Description: September 17th.

Altaba Inc. operates as a non-diversified, closed-end management investment company in the United States. Its assets consist primarily of equity investments, short-term debt investments, and cash. The company was formerly known as Yahoo! Inc. and changed its name to Altaba Inc. in June 2017. Altaba Inc. was founded in 1994 and is based in New York, New York. Company description from FinViz.com.

Altaba owns a 15% stake in Alibaba, currently worth about $70 billion. They hold a stake in Yahoo Japan currently worth $7.7 billion. They have $130 million in investments including Snap Inc. (SNAP). They have a $740 million stake in Excalibur, a unit of the new company that holds all the Yahoo patents that were not sold to Verizon. The company has $12 billion in cash. They recently announced a $5 billion stock buyback and the company has committed to returning nearly all the cash in the bank plus any thrown off by the investments, to the shareholders.

Owning Altaba is just like owning Alibaba only without the expensive options and a lot less volatility. We get the other parts for free.

We have tried to play Alibaba several times but the volatility kept knocking us out. Unless you want to buy a $30 Jan $180 call and just sit on it with no stop loss, AABA is the only way to play Alibaba.

Update 10/15/17: Alibaba said it was going to spend an additional $15 billion over the next three years on research. They already spend $3 billion and have more than 25,000 engineers on the payroll.

The new effort will create the Alibaba DAMO Academy, short for Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook. The academy will set up labs in China, USA, Russia, Israel and Singapore and fund collaborations with universities. They plan to explore AI, IoT, quantum computing, visual computing, machine learning and network security.

Position 9/18/17:

Long Jan 2019 $70 call @ $8.20, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

You could sell short the $90 call for $2.15 but that would limit your gain to $15. Alibaba shares are going to the moon, just like Amazon. They are growing faster than Amazon and have a bigger market with 4.5 billion consumers in Asia.

AAPL - Apple Inc Company Profile


Apple shares were knocked back to $155 on news they had cut component orders by 50% on the iPhone 8 because of weak demand. The weakness is due to the late delivery of the X and people are holding off buying an 8 until they can see the X and decide if they want to spend a little more to get the coolest new toy. Once the X appears, consumers will pick either the 8 or the X and sales will boom. Unfortunately, another news article in Forbes said the weak yields on the X components means there will only be about 3 million available for sale when they open for orders next Friday. There will be a long wait for the X and that could push a lot of people back into the 8.

On Thursday, China cut off cell service to Apple's new watch because the SIM card does not comply with Beijing's standards in order to track its users. China does not allow citizens free access to the internet. They can only see vetted sites and news that complies with the government censorship rules. Not allowing a phone/watch they cannot track is an ominous warning for consumers.

Original Trade Description: September 24th.

Apple Inc. designs, manufactures, and markets mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and portable digital music players to consumers, small and mid-sized businesses, and education, enterprise, and government customers worldwide. The company also sells related software, services, accessories, networking solutions, and third-party digital content and applications. It offers iPhone, a line of smartphones; iPad, a line of multi-purpose tablets; and Mac, a line of desktop and portable personal computers. The company also provides iLife, a consumer-oriented digital lifestyle software application suite; iWork, an integrated productivity suite that helps users create, present, and publish documents, presentations, and spreadsheets; and other application software, such as Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro X, and FileMaker Pro. In addition, it offers Apple TV that connects to consumers' TV and enables them to access digital content directly for streaming high definition video, playing music and games, and viewing photos; Apple Watch, a personal electronic device; and iPod, a line of portable digital music and media players. Further, the company sells Apple-branded and third-party Mac-compatible, and iOS-compatible accessories, such as headphones, displays, storage devices, Beats products, and other connectivity and computing products and supplies. Additionally, it offers iCloud, a cloud service; AppleCare that offers support options for its customers; and Apple Pay, a mobile payment service. The company sells and delivers digital content and applications through the iTunes Store, App Store, Mac App Store, TV App Store, iBooks Store, and Apple Music. Company description from FinViz.com.

Earnings October 31st.

Apple shares have fallen $13 since the September 1st high and $12 since the product announcement on September 12th. The shares have fallen into a cluster of converging support levels and the post announcement decline should be "about" over. Nobody will know for sure until the rebound begins.

After the product announcement, Apple reaffirmed its guidance saying we planned for the recent event surrounding the production and release of the new products when giving the prior guidance. Apple rarely misses guidance. Knowing they were having production problems and staggered release they probably low-balled the number.

They are expected to sell 85 million phones in Q4. More than 66% of iPhone users have phones older than 2 years. They will have five active models for sale in Q4. They have the 7, 7+, 8, 8+ and the X plus they still have some of the older, cheaper models they are selling overseas in places like India. The new Watch could be the model that actually turns the Watch into its own revenue category instead of being lumped into the "other" category.

I have been negative on Apple for the last three weeks and the decline is going as expected. I believe the stock has reached a level where buyers will appear. There could still be several dollars of decline but the rebound could be just as quick once it appears to have bottomed.

Because the option premiums are so large this has to be a spread position. I expect Q4/Q1 sales to be so strong that shares explode to new highs. Analysts are talking about $200 and shares closed at $152 on Friday.

Update 10/15: Apple shares closed at a 3 week high despite continued rumors about slow production on the model X. Also, Qualcomm filed lawsuits in China seeking to halt the manufacture and sales of the iPhones. The suits claim patent infringement and request an injunction to halt production. Since iPhone production employs over 1 million people in China, it is doubtful they will be successful in getting production halted. At issue is Qualcomm's patent fees where they charge a percentage of the retail value of the device that uses those patents. For instance, when the iPhones sold for $500 a 15% fee would have been $75. Now that the phones are over $1,000 that fee would be $150 per phone even though the technology is 10 years old. One of the patents in question is the touch screen technology. Apple and others want to pay a fixed fee like $25 rather than a percentage. Qualcomm's response is that the phone would not be possible without their technology. If Apple was smart they would just buy Qualcomm and then they could collect the $25 billion a year in revenue from patents and hardware. They could immediately resell Qualcomm, minus the patents, with a free use license on any new Qualcomm patents, and save themselves billions of dollars every year.

Position 9/25/17:

Long Jan 2019 $160 call @ $12.90, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Short Jan 2019 $190 call @ $5.40, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Net debit $7.50.

ABBV - AbbVie - Company Profile


AbbVie entered into a new immuno-oncology research collaboration with biotech firm Harpoon Therapeutics. The partnership hopes to develop a T-cell treatment for cancer using Harpoon's tri-specific T-cell activating molecules. The prior week AbbVie partnered with Turnstone Biologics to gain access to their next-generation oncolytis viral immunotherapies. AbbVie is on the move and not afraid to go where no company has gone before.

Original Trade Description: June 4th.

AbbVie Inc. discovers, develops, manufactures, and sells pharmaceutical products worldwide. The company offers HUMIRA, a biologic therapy administered as a subcutaneous injection to treat autoimmune diseases; IMBRUVICA, an oral therapy for the treatment of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia; and VIEKIRA PAK, an interferon-free therapy, with or without ribavirin, for the treatment of adults with genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C. It also provides Kaletra, an anti- human immunodeficiency virus(HIV)-1 medicine used with other anti-HIV-1 medications as a treatment that maintains viral suppression in HIV-1 patients; Norvir, a protease inhibitor indicated in combination with other antiretroviral agents to treat HIV-1; and Synagis to prevent RSV infection at-risk infants. In addition, the company offers AndroGel, a testosterone replacement therapy for males diagnosed with symptomatic low testosterone; Creon, a pancreatic enzyme therapy for exocrine pancreatic insufficiency; Synthroid to treat hypothyroidism; and Lupron, a product for the palliative treatment of prostate cancer, endometriosis, and central precocious puberty, as well as for the treatment of patients with anemia. Further, it provides Duopa and Duodopa, a levodopa-carbidopa intestinal gel to treat Parkinson's disease; Sevoflurane, an anesthesia product for human use; and ZINBRYTA, a subcutaneous treatment for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis. The company sells its products to wholesalers, distributors, government agencies, health care facilities, specialty pharmacies, and independent retailers from its distribution centers and public warehouses. AbbVie Inc. has collaboration agreements with C2N Diagnostics; Calico Life Sciences LLC; Infinity Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; M2Gen; and Principia Biopharma Inc. Company description from FinViz.com.

A lot of companies have 1-2 real drugs in the pipeline that may be approved. Several companies have one drug that could be a blockbuster and reach $1 billion in sales annually. AbbVie has multiple blockbusters in the pipeline and dozens of other drugs already in the market.

AbbVie was a spinoff from Abbott Laboratories in 2012 and they are doing great. In the first quarter they reported earnings of $1.28, that rose 11.3% and beat estimates by 2 cents. Revenue of $6.5 billion rose 10.1% and that was higher than three of its biggest competitors Amgen, $2.8 billion, Biogen $5.5 billion and Celgene $3.0 billion.

Earnings are expected to continue growing with analyst estimates for 14% annual growth over the next five years. AbbVie guided for 13% to 15% in 2017. Despite the earnings growth the stock only trades at a PE of 11.

Shares dipped back in May when Coherus won a court battle invalidating one of AbbVie's patents on Humira, their biggest drug. However, AbbVie said it was not a problem because there were 61 other patents on the drug and they would fight it in the courts until 2020. The first trial is not even scheduled until 2019. Amgen won FDA approval for a biosimilar but AbbVie said it would not happen until 2020 at the earliest.

The company's confidence that there would not be a biosimilar drug until 2021-2022 matched analyst estimates. This is a steep uphill battle for anyone trying to copy this drug.

The company's other drugs are going to be cash cows. Imbruvica generated $1.8 billion in sales in 2016 and could reach $7 billion annually over the next couple of years. Venclexta was approved in 2016 for leukemia and sales could peak at $3.5 billion a year. An experimental cancer drug called Rova-T could hit $5 billion a year when approved. A psoriasis drug called risankizumab could produce $4 billion a year and arthritis drug upadacitinib could peak at $3.5 billion. Given all these cash flow giants in the pipeline, I am amazed the company only trades at a PE of 11.

Estimated earnings date is July 28th.

I would not normally pick a stock that has had a $5 run over the last three weeks but ABBV is about to break out to a new high and that could kick it into high gear. People love to buy stocks when they first make a new high.

Update 6/23/17: The company received a favorable opinion on MAVIRET, a once daily He-C drug, from the European Medical Agency and the CHMP. This is an 8 week cure for Hep-C that will compete with Gilead's products.

Update 7/28/17: AbbVie reported earnings of $1.42 compared to estimates for $1.40. Revenue of $6.94 billion narrowly beat estimates for $6.93 billion. They guided for the full year for $5.44-$5.54. Shares declined because the sales of its Hep-C drug, Viekira Pak were $225 million and well below estimates for $257 million. This is a temporary setback because they have multiple drugs in the pipeline that are expected to generate more than $1 billion in sales annually. Shares declined $3 on the earnings.

Update 8/5/17: AbbVie has declared war on the Gilead Sciences Hep-C franchise. The AbbVie drug Mavyret has a 97.5% cure rate and only costs $13,200 for four weeks of treatment compared to Gilead's newest drugs at $25,000 for four-weeks. Most patients are cured in 8 weeks but some have to continue for 12 weeks. Gilead's Harvoni was initially $96,000 for a 12-week treatment.

Update 9/10/17: The company declared a quarterly dividend of 64 cents payable Nov 15th to holders on Oct 13th. They have increased their dividend for 25 consecutive years.

The company also submitted two NDAs to the FDA for approval. AbbVie also released positive results on a new drug for eczema. The drug called upadacitinib, produced stronger results than the competitor drug from Regeneron (REGN).

Update 9/17/17: AbbVie's drug Humira is expected to sell more than $18 billion in 2017 after a $16.1 billion revenue in 2016. The FDA has 10 FDA approved indications giving it a massive patient base. This is just one of AbbVie's billion dollar blockbuster drugs.

Update 10/1/17: AbbVie and Amgen reached an agreement on a biosimilar for Humira. Amgen can sell its copy in the US starting Jan 23rd, 2023 and several European countries on Oct 16th, 2018. Amgen will pay royalties to AbbVie for the marketing rights. Both parties canceled legal proceedings regarding existing patents. The marketing agreement grants "non-exclusive" right, which suggests AbbVie will repeat the same agreement with other companies and thereby guaranteeing future royalty streams. Shares spiked $5 on the news.

Position 6/19/17:

Long Jan 2019 $75 call @ $4.70, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

Previously closed 7/28/17: Short term: Long Jan 2018 $72.50 call @ $2.81, exit $2.63, -.18 loss.

ATVI - Activision Blizzard - Company Profile


No specific news. The esports craze is exploding with 385 million gamers now logging in to watch the competitions. Esports will generate more than $700 million in revenue this year and grow 30% annually through 2020. Activision is the primary benefactor of this new revenue stream.

Original Trade Description: July 16th.

Activision Blizzard, Inc. develops and publishes online, personal computer (PC), video game console, handheld, mobile, and tablet games. The company operates through two segments, Activision Publishing, Inc. and Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. The company develops, publishes, and sells interactive software products and content through retail channels or digital downloads; and downloadable content to a range of gamers. It also publishes subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing games; and strategy and role-playing games. In addition, the company maintains a proprietary online gaming service, Battle.net that facilitates the creation of user generated content, digital distribution, and online social connectivity in its games. Further, it engages in creating original film and television content; and provides warehousing, logistical, and sales distribution services to third-party publishers of interactive entertainment software, as well as manufacturers of interactive entertainment hardware products. The company serves retailers and distributors, including mass-market retailers, consumer electronics stores, discount warehouses, game specialty stores, and consumers through third-party distribution, licensing arrangements, and direct digital purchases in the United States, Canada, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, Australia, South Korea, China, and internationally. Company description from FinViz.com

Activision reported Q1 earnings of 56 cents, up 17%. Sales rose 19% to $1.73 billion. Activision had originally guided for 25 cents and $1.55 billion. Analysts were expecting 22 cents and $1.1 billion so it was a major blowout. For the full year they raised guidance to 88 cents and $6.1 billion, up from 72 cents and $6.0 billion.

Blizzards's monthly active users rose to 431 million. King Digital has 342 million active users. The new Overwatch game was the fastest Blizzard title to hit 25 million registered players and now has more than 30 million. Revenues from in game purchases rose 25% driven by World of Warcraft and Overwatch customization features.

Earnings Nov 2nd.

Activision has been beating on earnings and given the success of their last two releases the Q2 earnings should also be a beat. The stock is poised to break out to a new high over $61. I am recommending the 2019 LEAPS ahead of earnings. For those that do not want to hold that long I am also going to list the January 2018 strikes as well.

Update 7/30/17: Blizzard announced that player signing for the professional Overwatch Gaming League will begin on August 1st. All players for the league will become members of the seven teams that have joined the league so far including, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami-Orlando, New York City, San Francisco, Seoul and Shanghai, or for teams that sign on before the player signing period closes Oct. 30. Each player is guaranteed a $50,000 salary or more, lodging and practive facilities, health insurance, a retirement savings plan and 50% of the team's winnings. Each team will have 6-12 players. The total bonuses in Season 1 will add up to $3.5 million with a minimum of $1 million to the winning team. The e-Sports craze is exploding and this will be a money maker for ATVI.

Update 8/5/17: ATVI reported earnings of 55 cents compared to estimates for 30 cents. Revenue of $1.42 billion beat estimates for $1.21 billion. They guided for earnings of 34 cents in the current quarter with full year earnings of $1.94 per share. Shares spiked to a new high close at $64 on Thursday but gave back $2 on Friday.

Update 9/24/17: Call of Duty: WWII is due out in November and retailers have already reported a huge wave of preorders after the beta testing was completed. Those that were allowed to download the beta version were very excited and the news is spreading. This takes Call of Duty back to its roots and should be a very successful game.

Update 10/15/17: NPD reported that sales of Destiny 2 were down 50% from sales of the original at this point in the release. That caused the stock to decline sharply on Monday to stop us out of the January position. However, this is not what is appears on the surface. Destiny 1 was sold mostly at retail in a CD package. Destiny 2 is being sold mostly online with a digital download so the comparison of boxed retail sales is apples to oranges. Secondly, Destiny 2 has not even launched on the PC yet. That will happen on Oct 24th. That is another entire wave of sales.

Activision issued a press release calling Destiny 2 the biggest console video game launch of the year with the PC launch still to come. They cited "franchise pre-orders records broken and record day-one performance on the Playstation Store and engagement at the highest ever in week one of a launch" it would appear Activision is not admitting to any sales decline.

Position 7/17/17:

Long Jan 2019 $65 call @ $8.20, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Short Jan 2019 $85 call @ $2.61, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Net debit $5.59.

Alternate position:
Closed 10/9/17: Long Jan 2018 $65 call @ $4.05, exit $2.80, -1.25 loss.

BA - Boeing Company - Company Profile


Business is booming. Boeing is set to finalize a $13.8 billion order with Singapore Airlines next week. The order is for (20) 777-9 and (19) 787-10 planes. The rumor that will never die surfaced again and that being an Amazon order for (100) 767 freighters. This first appeared in March and keeps resurfacing. Amazon's leases for its current (40) 767 freighters do not expire until 2023. That means there is no rush to order more since it would take years for Boeing to make them but still deliver before 2023. There is another rumor that surfaced last week that Amazon is shopping for financing/lease arrangements for (400) 767s to be delivered over the next ten years. Boeing went to its managers and workers last week to see what would be needed to "significantly" boost production rates for a large and important customer. Boeing is rumored to be looking at a doubling of the production rate. They currently produce (2) 767s per month and they are planning on raising this to 4 per month from January 2020 through January 2021 then slowly scale back to 2 per month by 2025. This would seem to indicate a 40-60 plane order from a single customer for delivery in 2021. Shares closed at a new high.

I looked at trying to close the spread but the premiums are still too wide. We have a $20 spread with a $5.78 net debit. If we wait until expiration in January we should collect roughly $14.22. Today we could close for $10.57 or nearly $4 lower than the January number. We have no risk in letting it ride. Shares could drop $50 and we would still make our maximum profit. There is no volume in these options because they are so deep in the money and the bid/ask spreads are roughly $3 each. That makes it difficult to play the volatility in the premiums to get a successful close.

Original Trade Description: May 14th.

The Boeing Company, together with its subsidiaries, designs, develops, manufactures, sells, services, and supports commercial jetliners, military aircraft, satellites, missile defense, human space flight, and launch systems and services worldwide. It operates in five segments: Commercial Airplanes, Boeing Military Aircraft, Network & Space Systems, Global Services & Support, and Boeing Capital. The Commercial Airplanes segment develops, produces, and markets commercial jet aircraft for various passenger and cargo requirements; and provides related support services to the commercial airline industry. This segment also offers aviation services support, aircraft modifications, spare parts, training, maintenance documents, and technical advice to commercial and government customers. The Boeing Military Aircraft segment researches, develops, produces, and modifies manned and unmanned military aircraft, and weapons systems for global strike, vertical lift, and autonomous systems, as well as mobility, surveillance, and engagement. The Network & Space Systems segment researches, develops, produces, and modifies strategic defense and intelligence systems, satellite systems, and space exploration products. The Global Services & Support segment provides integrated logistics services comprising supply chain management and engineering support; maintenance, modification, and upgrades for aircraft; and training systems and government services that include pilot and maintenance training. The Boeing Capital segment offers financing services and manages financing exposure for a portfolio of equipment under operating and finance leases, notes and other receivables, assets held for sale or re-lease, and investments. The company was founded in 1916 and is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Company description from FinViz.com.

Boeing dipped last week after the test flights for the 737-MAX were halted temporarily. Boeing is expecting to begin deliveries of that model later this month. The problem was a low pressure disk in the LEAP-18 engine built by CFM International. That is a joint venture between GE and France's Safran. The halt was only a day before Boeing announced they were resuming flights of the planes without the LEAP-18 engines. CFM said the problem would be fixed within "weeks" because an alternate supplier was increasing production of the specific part.

The temporary dip could be a buying opportunity. Boeing has dozens of projects underway and the biggest backlog of plane orders in history. The 787 Dreamliner is already on its third revision. The first plane was the 787-8 then there was the 787-9 and now the 787-10. The 787-8 was barely profitable because of higher than expected production costs. However, the improved 787-9 and 10 are highly profitable and in high demand. The delivery mix fell to only 25% model 8s in Q1. Currently there are 672 Dreamliners on order and only 89 are for the model 8. By the time the planes are actually built that will probably decline much further. Orders being transferred from airlines to leasing companies are typically upgraded to the more desirable models because the leasing companies want the longest lasting, fully featured models so the lease rates remain higher longer. The newest version the 787-10 already has 169 orders and it costs $40 million more than the model 8 but only costs a couple million more to produce. Analysts believe Boeing's profitability will rise $1.5 billion on this order shuffle alone.

Boeing got another windfall when Trump was elected and suddenly took an interest in producing more F-18 Hornet's than F-35s. Boeing was only expected to produce 5 Hornets this year with a big order for F18 Growlers filling out the production line. The Growlers are the radar jamming planes that protect a flight of fighters. In the budget that was just passed, an additional $1.1 billion was allocated for 14 additional F-18s in this year. Trump had asked for 24 but Congress only approved 14. There will be a lot more in the budget for 2018. The F-18 is the workhorse of the Navy and many of their older planes are reaching the 6,000 flight hour maximum threshold. That means the Navy will need hundreds over the next several years to replace the aging aircraft. Boeing expects the production line to increase to 3-4 per month starting in 2020. Boeing expects another 100 planes to be ordered over the next five budget cycles and possibly more as the military scales down requests for F-35s in favor of the much cheaper F-18s. Boeing has an enhancement called Block III that basically gives the F-18 the networking capability of the F-35. They envision a stealthy F-35 entering hostile airspace and doing reconnaissance and then transmitting back threat and target information to the heavily armed F-18s to actually carry out the attacks. Over the last five years, the Navy has requested five times as many F-18s as F-35s. A F-18 costs $75 million and F-35 $121 million.

Boeing said on any given day 2 out of every three F-18 planes are out of commission waiting for repairs. Planes have been flown hard in the post 9/11 world with multiple theaters of war and planes down for a single part end up getting cannibalized for other parts to keep the remaining planes flying.

All of this means Boeing is going to remain highly profitable for a very long time and this is just two production lines of the dozens of products being manufactured by the company.

Update 6/9/17: Israel's El Al airlines will take delivery of its first 787 Dreamliner in August. They have 16 on order for $1.25 billion. They expect to save 47% in fuel costs by retiring the 747-400s and 767-300s.

The company finalized the $3 billion order with Iran's Aseman Airlines for 60 planes. This will be 30 737 planes to be delivered in 2019 delivered in the first group with another 30 models yet to be determined in 2020-2021.

Update 6/23/17: Boeing received orders or commitments for 571 planes at the Paris Air Show. This was a record number of orders surpassing the 2011-2015 period where orders were booming. More than 500 of those orders were for the 737 single isle jets. On the final day Boeing announced an order of 125 737-MAX 8s to an unidentified customer. Avolon ordered 75 737 MAX 8s and Lion Air orderes 50 737 MAX 10s. Orders for the 737 MAX 10 that was formerly announced at the show totaled 361 planes.

Update 7/2/17: Boeing said it received orders for more than $40.1 billion at the Paris Air Show.

Last week Boeing announced the startup of Boeing Global Services a new division in Boeing that will focus on the needs of government, space and commercial customers worldwide. They said the services market is worth an estimated $2.6 trillion over the next ten years.

Update 7/17/17: Through July 4th, Boeing has received 381 net firm orders consisting of 438 gross orders and 57 changes or cancellations. This compares to only 276 new orders in the first six months of 2016. It is going to be a good year for Boeing. Hardly a day goes by that they do not announce a new order for a plane, fighter, helicopter, satellite or spacecraft.

Update 7/30/17: Boeing reported earnings of $2.55 that beat estimates for $2.32. Revenue of $22.74 billion missed estimates for $23.01 billion. Operating cash flow of $5 billion was more than twice expectations. They repurchased 13.6 million shares for $2.5 billion and paid out $900 million in dividends. They delivered 226 aircraft in Q2. They added $27 billion in net new orders to lift their backlog to $482 billion. They expect to buy back $10 billion in stock in 2017. They reaffirmed guidance to deliver 760-765 aircraft in 2017 with earnings of $9.80-$10.00, up from $9.20-$9.40. Shares literally exploded to gain $29 for the week and add 198 points to the Dow. Unfortunately, we have a spread position so our gain was limited.

Update 8/5/17: Boeing said they sold 2 747s previously allocated to Russia's Transaero Airlines to the U.S. government for use as the next generation Air Force One. Transaero went bankrupt and the planes were never delivered. They have been in storage since late 2015. The government said they got a really good deal but nobody would release a price. The planes will require extensive conversion work to upgrade them to Air Force One specifications. Even a new plan rolling off the line today would require the same upgrades. Congressional committees approves plans to shift $195 million in previously approved defense funds to the current year to accelerate conversion work on the planes. They will not enter service until 2024.

Update 8/13/17: Boeing said they signed a deal with Air Lease for 12 737 MAX planes. That will be five 737 MAX 7s and seven 737 MAX8s. They also received two new orders for the 787-9 Dreamliner. They also signed a memorandum of understanding with SpiceJet for fourty 737 MAX planes worth $40.7 billion. Another MOU was signed with Tibet Financial Leasing for twenty 737 MAX planes. Another MOU was signed with BOC Aviation Ltd for ten 737 MAX 10 planes worth $1.25 billion. Boeing expects to sell 29,530 single-aisle jets worth $3.2 trillion over the next 20 years. That is a 5% increase from the last guidance.

Boeing said it booked 183 net commercial orders in Q2 compared to 381 net orders in Q1.

Update 8/20/17: Boeing said they were awarded a 4-year, $7.1 billion contract for maintenance and support on the C-17 military aircraft. The company also said it received clearance to sell six additional Apache helicopters for $654.6 million.

Update 8/27/17: Boeing won a $349 million design contract to update the Minuteman III missile system. When the final contract for production is written, it will be from $65 billion to as much as $140 billion. Orbital ATK (OA) and Rocketdyne (AJRD) are expected to be subcontractors for Boeing.

Update 9/10/17: Boeing upgraded their forecast for plan demand from China. The company now predicts China will buy 7,240 planes, up from 6,810 in the prior forecast. The value of these planes will be more than $1.1 trillion. The period covered is 2016 to 2036. China is expected to be 20% of the global demand for aircraft over the next 20 years. Boeing said the rapidly growing middle class and the continued economic growth in China would fuel the growth of airline travel.

Update 9/17/17: Boeing announced on Tuesday it was increasing production on the 787 Dreamliner from 12 to 14 per month. The planed cost $306 million each so that is a big boost to revenue. Even bigger news is that Boeing is going to raise the 787 "accounting block" by 100 planes to 1,300 starting in Q3. This will change the rate of amortization for the original tooling and add 15-20 cents to earnings in Q3 and 30-40 cents in 2018.

Update 9/24/17: Boeing blew out to another new high after announcing a tentative order from Turkish Airlines for (40) 787-9 Dreamliners worth $11 billion.

Boeing raised its 20 year target on deliveries to Southeast Asia by 460 planes saying demans should exceed 4,210 new planes worth $650 billion. Boeing said Southeast Asia wasthe fastest growing market in the world and 10% of the global market.

Update 10/8/17: Boeing reported a 7.4% rise in Q3 deliveries due to the high demand for the 737 jetliners. Boeing delivered 202 planes in Q3 compared to 188 in the year ago quarter. Of that total 145 were 737s, up from 120 last year. The 787 Dreamliners slipped 1 to 35 and 777s fell from 22 to 16. Boeing has delivered 554 planes in 2017 and expects to deliver 760-765 for the year. They received 127 new orders in Q3. Shares closed at a new high on Thursday.

Update 10/15/17: President Trump's decertification of the Iranian nuclear agreement could eventually impact the 80 planes worth $16.6 billion on order by Iran. There is an additional 30 planes ordered by Aseman Airlines at $3 billion and they have an option for 30 additional planes. If sanctions are implemented against Iran, that could impact funding for these deals. The delivery of the planes is spread out over 8 years so while it is a big number it is not really material to Boeing earnings since their annual revenue is approaching $100 billion. The loss of $3 billion a year is not going to hurt them. They sign that much in new orders every month.

Earnings October 26th.

Shares made a new high on Wednesday at $187 before dropping back to $182 on the temporary flight halt. Options are expensive so I am recommending a spread.

Position 5/15/17:

Long Jan $190 call @ $7.80, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Short Jan $210 call @ $2.02, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Net debit $5.78.

CAT - Caterpillar Inc Company Profile


No specific news. Earnings are Tuesday before the bell.

Original Trade Description: October 8th.

Caterpillar Inc. manufactures and sells construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives for heavy and general construction, rental, quarry, aggregate, mining, waste, material handling, oil and gas, power generation, marine, rail, and industrial markets. Its Construction Industries segment offers backhoe, compact, track-type, small and medium wheel, knuckleboom, and skid steer loaders; small and medium track-type, and site prep tractors; mini, wheel, forestry, small, medium, and large track excavators; and motorgraders, pipelayers, telehandlers, cold planers, asphalt pavers, compactors, road reclaimers, and wheel and track skidders and feller bunchers. The company's Resource Industries segment provides electric rope and hydraulic shovel, landfill and soil compactor, dragline, large wheel loader, machinery component, track and rotary drill, electronics and control system, work tool, hard rock vehicle and continuous mining system, scoop and hauler, wheel tractor scraper, large track-type tractor, and wheel dozer products; longwall, highwall, and continuous miners; and mining, off-highway, and articulated trucks. Its Energy & Transportation segment offers reciprocating engine powered generator set and engine, integrated system, turbine, centrifugal gas compressor, diesel-electric locomotive and component, and other rail-related products and services. The company's Financial Products segment offers finance for Caterpillar equipment, machinery, and engines, as well as dealers; property, casualty, life, accident, and health insurance; and insurance brokerage services, as well as purchases short-term trade receivables. Its All Other operating segments provides parts distribution and digital investments services. The company was formerly known as Caterpillar Tractor Co. and changed its name to Caterpillar Inc. in 1986. Company description from FinViz.com.

CAT has been alternately ignored or talked down for the last couple years but the shares keep rising. Part of the recent gains came from the guidance. The company has been bitten by the global slowdown in construction since the financial crisis. Then it was hit by the slowdown in the energy sector. Every expected rebound falied to appear and CAT continued to give cautious guidance. That changed over the last several months.

The global economy is rebounding. There are massive construction projects now underway in China and Asia. The Eurozone is also seeing a resurgence in consrtuction. Commodity metals are booming and mines are reopening shuttered capacity and opening new mines. Everything is suddenly positive for CAT.

In December they guided for full year 2017 revenues of $38 billion "as a reasonable midpoint expectation." Analyst estimates for earnings of $3.25 were "too optimistic" according to CAT.

In January they guided for $36-$39 billion in revenue and $2.90 in earnings.

In April they guided for $38-$41 billion in revenue and $3.75 in earnings.

In July they guided for $42-$44 billion in revenue and $5 in earnings.

In April they guided for revenue from construction at flat to 5%.
In July they guided for 10% to 15% growth.

In April they guided for revenue from mining at 10% to 15%.
In July they guided for 20% to 25% growth.

In April they guided for energy revenue at flat to 5%.
In July they raised it to 5% to 10%.

At the September 12th investor day meeting the new CEO said they were targeting $55 billion in revenue in 2018 with margins of 14%-17% compared to 12% in 2017. That would take them back to 2014 levels before the bear market in commodity/energy began. That is 28% above 2017 levels. He was careful not to call it a target but said that level was achievable if the current rebound in mining, energy and construction continued.

In late September CAT reported a global increase in machine sales of 11% for August. Total sales in Asia and the Pacific surged 44%.

After the devastation in Houston, there were new estimates from analysts for 17% or higher revenue growth in construction equipment.

I believe revenue estimates will continue to rise because they are running out of year and their conservative guidance will have to become more accurate.

Earnings October 24th. We will hold over.

Position 10/9/17:

Long Jan 2019 $135 call @ $8.63, no initial stop loss.
Short Jan 2019 $155 call @ $3.13, no initial stop loss.
Net debit $5.50.

COST - Costco Company Profile

Costco Wholesale Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates membership warehouses. It offers branded and private-label products in a range of merchandise categories. The company provides dry and packaged foods, and groceries; snack foods, candies, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, and cleaning supplies; appliances, electronics, health and beauty aids, hardware, and garden and patio; meat, bakery, deli, and produces; and apparel and small appliances. It also operates gas stations, pharmacies, optical dispensing centers, food courts, and hearing-aid centers; and engages in the travel businesses. In addition, the company provides gold star individual and business membership services. As of August 28, 2016, it operated 715 warehouses, including 501 warehouses in the United States, Washington, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico; 91 in Canada; 36 in Mexico; 28 in the United Kingdom; 25 in Japan; 12 in Korea; 12 in Taiwan; 8 in Australia; and 2 in Spain. Further, the company sells its products through online. Company description from FinViz.com.

We all know the story. Amazon bought Whole Foods and Costco shares lost over $30. Fast forward three months and Costco reported strong earnings but analysts still believed Whole Foods was going to kill them. Shares fell $13.

Let me put this in caps. IGNORE WHOLE FOODS. They are an entirely different business model and even with Amazon behind them, they are no threat to Costco. Costco operates 741 retail warehouses, each 4 times bigger than a Whole Foods store. Whole Foods only has 346 stores. At Costco you can buy food, diamond rings, cameras, large screen TVs, clothing, drugs, discount eye glasses, GE appliances, cruises to anywhere in the world and caskets among thousands of other items. Whole Foods has food.

Costco reported earnings of $2.08 that beat estimates for $2.02. Revenue of $42.3 billion beat estimates for $41.55 billion. Those numbers were up from $1.77 and $36.56 billion in the year ago quarter. US same store sales were up 6.5% and online sales were up 30%. There was NO weakness from the Whole Foods acquisition.

Paid memberships rose 274,000 to 18.5 million. That equates to an addition of 16,000 per week. Business members had a 94% renewal rate and Gold Star members an 89.3% renewal rate. They ended the quarter with $5.78 billion in cash, up more than $1 billion from the year ago quarter.

Costco rolled out a free two-day delivery service for orders over $75 with same day delivery at 376 stores through Instacart.

Shares were knocked for a loss despite the strong results because analysts are still only looking at the surface comparisons between Whole Foods and Costco. The decline stopped at $155 and did not even come close to strong support at $155. The weakness lasted five days.

On Friday, JP Morgan released the results of a recent survey showing Costco grocery prices were a whopping 58% cheaper than Whole Foods. JP Morgan said Whole Foods and Costco actually have very little in common other than a few grocery items and Costco wins hands down.

That report lifted Costco shares by $2.63 on Friday but the stock has a long way to go to recover lost ground.

In another recent survey by BMO Capital, they found that Costco consistently had lower prices and faster shipping than Amazon. They surveyed 16 categories and Costco was an average of 7% cheaper than Amazon. Shipping took an average of 4.5 days from Costco compared to 5.5 days from Amazon. Wal-Mart and Jet.com had prices that were 18% higher than Amazon and average shipping was 9.8 days.

Costco also has its own private label brand in the Kirkland label. Last year Kirkland was the largest selling grocery brand on Amazon. Yes, on Amazon.

We exited the existing January position last Monday and I wrote at the time I wanted to reinstate it with a longer dated option. I am using June options because the 2019 LEAPS are ridiculously expensive.

Position 10/16/17:

Long Jun $165 call @ $7.47, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Optional: Short Jun $185 call @ $1.96, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Net debit $5.51.

ECA - Encana Corp - Company Profile


At the investor day last week, Encana said they were targeting 25% compound annual growth in non-GAAP cash flow over the next five years and $1.5 billion in non-GAAP free cash flow. They are going to do this without any rise in commodity prices. They stressed their 23,000 potential drilling sites with 11,000 offering premiums returns of more than 35%. That included 3,450 in the Permian, 220 in the Eagle Ford, 500 in the Duvernay and 6,900 in the Montney. Most people have not heard of the Montney but that play has over 1,000 feet of pay with six zones of stacked production. Link to presentation slides

I know Encana has been an underperformer for us because of the drop in crude prices but I believe long term it is going to be a big winner. I would not hesitate to recommend doubling up again on the 2019 position.

Original Trade Description: May 21st.

Encana Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the exploration, development, production, and marketing of natural gas, oil, and natural gas liquids in Canada and the United States. The company owns interests in various assets, such as the Montney in northern British Columbia and northwest Alberta; Duvernay in west central Alberta; and other upstream operations, including Wheatland in southern Alberta, Horn River in northeast British Columbia, and Deep Panuke located offshore Nova Scotia. It also holds interests in assets that comprise the Eagle Ford in south Texas; Permian in west Texas; San Juan in northwest New Mexico; Piceance in northwest Colorado; and Tuscaloosa Marine Shale in east Louisiana and west Mississippi. Company description from FinViz.com.

Encana reported earnings of 11 cents that beat estimates for 4 cents. Revenue of $1.297 billion also beat estimates for $789 million. Production declined 18% due to low prices and depletion. This was an excellent report from a beaten down energy stock.

Production averaged 237,100 Boepd. Drilling and completion costs declined by 30%. They reduced long-term debt by $1.1 billion and net debt by 50%. They replaced 326% of production.

They currently have more than 10,000 premium drilling locations and expect to grow that number in 2017. Since December 31st, they have added more than 50 premium locations in the Eagle Ford alone. They ended 2016 with a whopping $5.3 billion in liquidity and cash of nearly $1 billion. They expect to spend $1.6 to $1.8 billion on capex in 2017 and grow liquids production by 35%. Capex willbe funded by cash on hand. Proved reserves were 920 million barrels and 3P reserves were 2.372 billion barrels.

With the cash, production rates, reserves and drilling inventory listed above they are definitely an acquisition candidate with only a $10 billion market cap. Half their market cap is cash on hand.

JP Morgan initiated coverage with an overweight rating and $16 price target.

Earnings August 1st.

I am recommending two positions for Encana. I am recommending a January $12 call for $1.40 and a January 2019 $15 call, also $1.40. The short-term position is to capture the expected summer rebound in oil prices. The long-term position is acquisition insurance. It will capture any normal rise in price but also any acquisition announcement.

Oil prices typically peak in August and then decline into fall. If OPEC announces this week an extended production cut scenario through March 2018 as expected, prices could continue to rise into winter as global inventories decline.

Update 6/12/17:

Encana sold its Permian Basin produced water infrastructure to H2O Midstream. No price was given. This included over 100 miles of interconnected pipeline and 80,000 bpd capacity. H2O plans to double the pipeline to 200 miles and capacity to 140,000 bpd plus adding storage for 2 million barrels of produced water. The produced water can be reused in new fracing projects and reduces the cost of new wells.

Update 7/21/17: Encana reported earnings of 18 cents that beat estimates for 4 cents. Revenue of $1.083 billion beat estimates for $773 million. Production averaged 246,500 Boepd, a 9,200 boepd rise. Condensate rose 14% to 124,900 bpd. The margin per barrel rose 25% to $12.10. Recent wells with the newest fracking technology have been coming with production 20% higher than expected. The company has more than 11,000 "premium" drilling locations and thousands of non-core locations.

Position 5/22//17:

Long Jan 2018 $12 call @ $1.50, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Long Jan 2019 $15 call @ $1.40, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

Position 8/28/17:
Long (2) Jan 2019 $15 calls @ .50.
Adjusted 2019 position (3 contracts) @ 80 cents each.

GSAT - GlobalStar - Company Profile


No specific news. This stock is not likely to produce weekly news. I will only post an update if something important happens. This is a 2019 LEAP. No rush.

Original Trade Description: May 28th.

Globalstar, Inc. provides mobile voice and data communications services through satellite worldwide. The company offers duplex two-way voice and data products, including mobile voice and data satellite communications services and equipment for remote business continuity, recreational, emergency response, and other applications; fixed voice and data satellite communications services and equipment in rural villages, ships, industrial and commercial sites, and residential sites; and satellite data modem services comprising asynchronous and packet data services. It also provides SPOT products, such as SPOT satellite GPS messenger for personal tracking, emergency location, and messaging solutions; SPOT Global phone; and SPOT Trace, an anti-theft and asset tracking device. In addition, the company offers commercial Simplex one-way transmission products to track cargo containers and rail cars, to monitor utility meters, to monitor oil and gas assets, and other applications. Further, it provides engineering services, such as hardware and software designs to develop specific applications; and installation of gateways and antennas. The company primarily serves recreation and personal; government; public safety and disaster relief; oil and gas; maritime and fishing; natural resources, mining, and forestry; construction; utilities; and transportation markets. Globalstar, Inc. distributes its products directly, as well as through independent agents, dealers and resellers, independent gateway operators, and its sales force and e-commerce Website. As of December 31, 2016, it served approximately 689,000 subscribers. The company was founded in 2003 and is headquartered in Covington, Louisiana. Company description from FinViz.com.

This is a buy and forget position. Globalstar has a lot of thing currently in the works and is likely to be acquired over the next 18 months. With the 2019 LEAP at $1, we could be well rewarded if we just buy a few contracts and forget them.

You probably saw the bidding war over Straight Path Communications. Verizon won the war with a $3.1 billion bid. Verizon was not buying STRP for its business value. Verizon was buying bandwidth and spectrum. That is the licenses and frequencies that allow a company to transmit conversations and data through the air.

Globalstar has a lot more to offer than Straight Path. Globalstar is a satellite operator and won approval from the FCC in December to use its spectrum for terrestrial wireless. That approval means Globalstar's spectrum would be available to an acquirer for immediate use. Globalstar has spectrum that is perfect for small cell networks where population density is too thin to support a group of major cell towers.

Globalstar has targeted 100 countries in which it will see approval for wireless service. The company said, "At the end of Q1 we have filed for terrestrial authority in countries covering more than 375 million people. If you include the USA the total population covered would be about 700 million.

Analysts believe companies like Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google could see this capability as very valuable. The ability to communicate wirelessly with people not already reached with broadband opens up entirely new markets. Google has already tried to reach the masses with Google Fiber but the cost was too expensive and they had to scale back that initiative. Facebook is experimenting with solar powered planes and airships to beam wireless internet to millions of potential customers.

If anyone makes a run at Globalstar, it could turn into another bidding war. If nobody tries to acquire them by the end of 2017 they will have even more assets in the form of operating authority in numerous other countries. The company is an interesting lottery ticket play where we can invest very little but likely be rewarded even if an acquisition does not appear.

Earnings August 3rd but in this position we really do not care what the quarterly reports say. This is a buy and forget position. The chart over the last ten years is ugly. As a satellite company they have failed in generating any material interest. It is the recent approval to use their spectrum for wireless that holds promise for the future.

Update 10/1/17: GlobalStar and IPmotion Inc. announced the formation of GlobalStar Japan and the launch of commercial mobile satellite service at a press event today in Tokyo. Globalstar Japan will offer a suite of mobile satellite products and services with voice, data, asset monitoring, tracking and emergency S.O.S. capabilities for the consumer, enterprise and government markets.

Update 10/8/17: GlobalStar announced a secondary offering of $125 million in shares to satisfy lender requirements for capital levels. 80% of the proceeds will be deposited with the lenders and will be interest bearing until the funds are used to pay P&I due under existing loan agreements in December 2017 and June 2018. The shares were priced at $1.65 and will close on Oct 11th.

Position 5/30/17:

Long Jan 2019 $2.50 call @ $1.00, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

HD - Home Depot - Company Description


No specific news. Shares faded after Nate failed to cause any material damage. We are now waiting on the Nov 14th earnings where they will provide strong guidance as a result of the rebuilding effort from Harvey, Irma and Maria.

Original Trade Description: August 27th.

The Home Depot, Inc. operates as a home improvement retailer. It operates The Home Depot stores that sell various building materials, home improvement products, and lawn and garden products, as well as provide installation, home maintenance, and professional service programs to do-it-yourself, do-it-for-me (DIFM), and professional customers. The company offers installation programs that include flooring, cabinets, countertops, water heaters, and sheds; and professional installation in various categories sold through its in-home sales programs, such as roofing, siding, windows, cabinet refacing, furnaces, and central air systems, as well as acts as a contractor to provide installation services to its DIFM customers through third-party installers. It primarily serves homeowners; and professional renovators/remodelers, general contractors, handymen, property managers, building service contractors, and specialty tradesmen, such as installers. The company also sells its products through online. It operates through approximately 2,278 stores, including 1,977 in the United States, including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the territories of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam; 182 in Canada; and 119 in Mexico.

On August 14th, HD reported earnings of $2.25 that beat estimates for $2.21. Record revenue of $28.11 beat estimates $26.47 billion. They raised guidance for the full year for 5.3% revenue growth. They guided for an 11% rise in earnings to $7.15 in May and raised that guidance in this report to 13% and $7.29.

Despite posting record results and raising guidance, the stock was crushed for a major loss. The conference call started with analysts asking how long the good times can continue since the housing market has been strong for so long. HD reps answered the question well then immediately got hit with a bigger bomb. How can your sales continue to rise when you can now buy many of your products cheaper on Amazon. The analysts even asked how much Alexa was hurting HD's business. Every question seemed to be about why Amazon was stealing market share and why HD sales were not falling. Sentiment turned bearish and shares fell $9 over the last four days.

We were stopped out on the big drop. There is nothing wrong with the company. There is strong support at $144.50.

We entered the HD position on a dip in July and with support at in the $144-$146 range, I am recommending we try to buy another dip.

Position 8/28/17:

Long Jan 2019 $155 call @ $11.42, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Short Jan 2019 $175 call @ $4.52, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Net debit $6.90.

LL - Lumber Liquidators - Company Profile


No specific news. Hurricane rebuilding in progress. Support holding.

Original Trade Description: September 3rd.

Lumber Liquidators Holdings, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a multi-channel specialty retailer of hardwood flooring, and hardwood flooring enhancements and accessories. The company offers hardwood species, engineered hardwood, laminates, and resilient vinyl flooring; renewable flooring, and bamboo and cork products; and a selection of flooring enhancements and accessories, including moldings, noise-reducing underlay, adhesives, and flooring tools under the Bellawood brand and Lumber Liquidators name. It also provides in-home delivery and installation services. The company primarily serves homeowners, or to contractors on behalf of homeowners. As of December 31, 2016, it operated 383 stores in the United States and 8 stores in Canada. The company also offers its products through its Website, catalogs, and call center. Company description from FinViz.com.

LL is back! They reported earnings of 16 cents for Q2 that beat estimates for 8 cents. Revenue of $263.5 million beat estimates for $256.9 million. Same store sales rose 8.8% and beat estimates for 6.0%. Customer traffic increased 5.3% and the average sale rose 3.5%. Gross profits rose 38.1%. Gross margins increased from 29.7% to 37%. Cash on hand was $112 million and outstanding debt $57 million.

The company has recovered from the Chinese flooring scandal from two years ago and customers are shopping at LL once again.

LL should benefit from the hurricane recovery effort. They have 8 stores in the immediate area around Houston and 7 others a little farther away from the disaster area. The vast majority of flooded homes are going to need new flooring. Many will make the switch to wood from carpet to avoid the constant problems with mold in a humid climate. This should benefit LL for the next four quarters.

Earnings Oct 31st.

Shares spiked sharply on the earnings in early August and were experiencing some post earnings depression until the hurricane hit. The initial spike on the disaster has faded and offers us a chance to enter the position a little cheaper.

Position 9/5/17:

Long Jan 2019 $40 LEAP Call, currently $7.60, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

MCD - McDonalds - Company Profile


No specific news but new high close on Thursday. Earnings before the open on Tuesday.

Original Trade Description: August 27th.

McDonald's Corporation operates and franchises McDonald's restaurants in the United States, Europe, the Asia/Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, Canada, Latin America, and internationally. The company's restaurants offer various food products, soft drinks, coffee, and other beverages. As of December 31, 2016, it operated 36,899 restaurants, including 31,230 franchised restaurants comprising 21,559 franchised to conventional franchisees, 6,300 licensed to developmental licensees, and 3,371 licensed to foreign affiliates; and 5,669 company-operated restaurants. Company description from FinViz.com.

McDonalds has revitalized their menu and now offers fresh burgers rather than frozen, all day breakfasts, inexpensive drinks, healthier sides and reasonable prices. This is not your father's McDonalds.

Same store sales in the last quarter rose 6.6%, which is unheard of for a fast food chain the size of McDonalds. The CEO said, "We're building a better McDonald's and more customers are noticing. Our relentless commitment to running great restaurants and keeping the customer at the center of everything we do is generating broad-based strength and momentum across our entire business."

Their latest surprising innovation is food delivery. They have partnered with multiple mobile delivery services and business is booming. McDonalds said delivery orders were significantly larger than dine in or take out because people now realize they can order for parties, football games, family dinners, etc. They order multiples of everything and the average check is significantly higher than a dine in order.

They are also implementing mobile ordering and payment with the order. You just show up and pick up your meal and it is ready to go. No lines to pay, no waiting for your food. They will have mobile order/pay in more than 20,000 stores by the end of 2017. The CEO said they were also seeing higher check sizes of 1.2x to 2.0x when mobile ordering is used.

Shares have topped out over the last two weeks from their constant new highs. The lethargic market has put a drag on their shares. Given their strong metrics, rapidly rising sales and refusal to sell off from their highs, it suggests they will go higher when the market begins moving up again.

Earnings Oct 24th.

Update 9/10/17: McDonalds said it was going to sell some of the McCafe beverages in supermarkets in early 2018 through a partnership with Coca Cola. The company also announced three new espresso drinks for its own stores. They are Carmel Macchiato, Cappuccino and Americano. They are going to rebrand the McCafe offerings with a new logo and packaging. They are rolling out new coffee makers to nearly all of their 14,000 stores.

Update 9/17/17: McDonalds shares were crushed after data tracker M Science suggested they could miss on earnings and revenue as a result of the hurricanes. McDonalds has more than 2,000 locations in Texas and Florida but obviously only a very few were impacted. They have more than 31,230 stores so the impact to 10-20 or even 50 for several days is not likely to impact revenue that significantly. I think this was a cry for attention by M Science. Shares should rebound once investors think it through.

Update 9/24/17: McDonalds raised its quarterly dividend by 7% to $1.01 payable Dec 15th to holders on Dec 1st. This is a killer dividend, now $4.04 annually. This is the 41st consecutive annual dividend increase.

Update 10/1/17: McDonalds shares rebounded after a consumer research company said sales at McDonalds were soaring in states that had legalized marijuana. They said 43% of users were eating at McDonalds, 18% Taco Bell, 17.8% Wendy's and 17.6% Burger King in order to satisfy their munchies after smoking pot. A side effect of marijuana is increased appetite.

Position 8/28/17:

Long Jan 2019 $165 call @ $7.92, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Short Jan 2019 $185 call @ $2.49, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.
Net debit $5.43.

MNST - Monster Beverage - Company Profile


No specific news. Shares are rebounding from the three weeks of consolidation.

Original Trade Description: June 4th.

Monster Beverage Corporation, through its subsidiaries, develops, markets, sells, and distributes energy drink beverages, soda, and its concentrates in the United States and internationally. It operates through three segments: Monster Energy Drinks, Strategic Brands, and Other. Its Monster Energy Drinks segment sells ready-to-drink packaged drinks and non-carbonated dairy based coffee energy drinks primarily to bottlers and full service beverage distributors, as well as sells directly to retail grocery and specialty chains, wholesalers, club stores, mass merchandisers, convenience chains, food service customers, and the military. The Strategic Brands segment sells concentrates and/or beverage bases to authorized bottling and canning operations; and ready-to-drink packaged energy drinks to bottlers and full service beverage distributors. It sells its products under the Monster Energy, Nalu, Monster Rehab, NOS, Monster Energy Extra Strength Nitrous Technology, Full Throttle, Java Monster, Burn, Muscle Monster, Mother, Mega Monster Energy, Ultra, Punch Monster, Play and Power Play, Juice Monster, Gladiator, Ubermonster, Relentless, Samurai, BU, and Mutant Super Soda brands. The company was formerly known as Hansen Natural Corporation and changed its name to Monster Beverage Corporation in January 2012. Company description from FinViz.com.

Monster reported earnings of 33 cents that rose 26.9% and beat estimates by a penny. Revenue of $742.1 million rose 9.1% and beat estimates for $741.4 million. These numbers beat estimates despite a -$3.7 million hit from foreign currency translation. Net sales outside the U.S. rose 28% to $190.9 million. Sales of new products were so strong there was actually a shortage of product.

Earnings August 3rd.

Monster is doing great in a weak retail sector. This proves if you sell something habit forming you will always have a market.

They have multiple initiatives underway to increase global sales and they appear to be overcoming all the daily headaches that impact a retail distribution company. Gross profits rose from 62.2% to 64.8%.

For the last couple of years Monster has been transitioning their distribution into the Coca-Cola network. Coke took a major equity stake in Monster and part of the deal was that Coke would distribute the product globally. That is working out well and giving Monster a wider presence than they could have ever done on their own. Coke has an option to buy more Monster stock, or even the entire company. Given the slowdown in carbonated sugar drinks, Coke could be looking to exercise their option soon.

I am recommending two positions. The first is a Jan-2018 call that will get us through the rest of the year and capture any short-term gains. The second is a Jan-2019 LEAP call that could capture a run to a new high and/or acquisition by Coke. You can do one position or both.

Update 8/13/17: Monster reported earnings of 39 cents that missed estimates for 40 cents. Revenue of $907.1 million beat estimates for $906.6 million.

Update 9/10/17: There was more analyst speculation last week that Coke might be getting close to acquiring the rest of Monster shares it does not own. Coke has a 16.7% stake in Monster and that is the only portion of the drink business that is growing. Coke's Q2 revenues declined 16% for the 9th consecutive quarterly decline.

Position 8/14/17:

Position 8/14/17: Long Jan 2019 $55 call @ $6.76, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

I will turn the 2019 call into a spread once the stock moves higher so we can widen our potential gains.

Previously closed 8/9/17: Long Jan 2018 $55 call @ $2.65, exit $1.95, -.70 loss
Alternate position:
Closed 8/9/17: Long Jan 2019 $55 call @ $5.60, exit $5.70, +.10 gain.

NVDA - Nvidia - Company Profile


No specific news but made new highs once again. Earnings are not until Nov 9th.

Original Trade Description: September 18th

NVIDIA Corporation operates as a visual computing company worldwide. It operates in two segments, GPU and Tegra Processor. The GPU segment offers processors, which include GeForce for PC gaming; Quadro for design professionals working in computer-aided design, video editing, special effects, and other creative applications; Tesla for deep learning, accelerated computing, and general purpose computing; and GRID for cloud-based streaming on gaming devices. The Tegra Processor segment provides processors that integrate a computer onto a single chip under the Tegra brand name; DRIVE automotive computers, which offer supercomputing capabilities; and tablet and portable devices for mobile gaming under the SHIELD name. The company's products are used in gaming, professional visualization, datacenter, and automotive markets. It sells its products primarily to original equipment manufacturers, original design manufacturers, system builders, motherboard manufacturers, add-in board manufacturers, and retailers/distributors.

Q1 earnings rose 46% to 33 cents and beat earnings by a penny. They hiked full year revenue guidance as well as the current quarter. Tor Q2 they raised the forecast to $1.35 billion that was above analyst estimates at $1.28 billion. Gaming revenue was up 17% to $687 million but all areas of effort saw significant gains. They recently released a new graphics card that is twice as fast and 40% cheaper than the card it is replacing.

Nvidia's Graphics Processing Units or GPUs have become more than just video chips. They have become supercomputing processors and can be packaged in large groups to parallel process monster datasets and computations that would have taken weeks with conventional chips. They are truly revolutionizing the processor industry.

The focus on Artificial Intelligence or AI, a lot of companies like Google and Amazon are turning to GPUs to handle the monster amounts of data they collect every day. Facebook already uses Nvidia M40 GPU accelerators to power its Big Sur machine learning computers. Those NVIDIA GPUs were specifically designes to train deep neural networks for enterprise data centers, and the company says they are 10-20 times faster than other network computers. Nvidia said their GPD powered machine learning computers can help train networks new things in just a few hours that would take days or weeks with less powerful systems.

The new P100 GPU is 12 times faster than the prior version and can provide more performance than "several hundred computer nodes" and up to eight P100s can be interconnected to provide previously unheard of computing power. The chips in the GPUs contain more than 15.3 billion transistors each and the largest chip ever built at 16 nanometer technology. That is twice as many as on Intel's biggest chips. The P100 delivers more than 10 teraflops of performance. One teraflop can process one trillion floating-point instructions per second and the P100 can do 10 teraflops or 10 trillion calculations per second.

The COSMOS weather forecasting application runs faster on the P100 than the 27 servers, running twin multicore processors each that were previously tasked with the project. Intel makes commodity processors for the millions of PCs and servers in the world. Nvidia is light years ahead of Intel in technology. Nvidia's data center revenue increased 63% in Q1.

Update 10/1/17: Citigroup reiterated a buy rating and raised their price target to $210. Bank of America reiterated a buy and $210 price target. Citi said buy Nvidia because the AI movement is just getting started and Nvidia is the leader.

Update 10/16/17: Nvidia shares closed at a new high on Friday after Needham raised their price target to $250 to match Evercore ISI at that level. Analysts cannot say enough nice things about Nvidia.

Position 9/19/16 with a NVDA trade at $63.50

Closed 6/14/17: Long Jan 2018 $70 LEAP Call @ $9.40, exit $84.50, +75.10 gain.
Closed 6/14/17: Short Jan 2018 $90 LEAP Call @ $3.73, exit 64.30, -60.57 loss.
Net gain $14.53.

New Position 3/13/17:

Long Jan $120 LEAP Call @ $6.75, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

PYPL - PayPal - Company Profile


PayPal reported earnings of 46 cents that rose 31% and beat estimates for 44 cents. Revenue of $3.24 billion rose 21% and beat estimates for $3.17 billion. They processed $114 billion in payments and person to person payments rose 47% to $24 billion. The Venmo app processed $9 billion in payments for 93% growth. They added 8.2 million new active members. They guided for the current quarter to earnings of 50-52 cents and for the full year for $1.86-$1.88. Shares spiked 5% on the report.

Original Trade Description: July 30th.

PayPal Holdings, Inc. operates as a technology platform company that enables digital and mobile payments on behalf of consumers and merchants worldwide. It enables businesses of various sizes to accept payments from merchant Websites, mobile devices, and applications, as well as at offline retail locations through a range of payment solutions, including PayPal, PayPal Credit, Braintree, Venmo, Xoom, and Paydiant products. The company's platform allows consumers to shop by sending payments, withdraw funds to their bank accounts, and hold balances in their PayPal accounts in various currencies. Company description from FinViz.com

PayPal has been on a roll lately. They reported earnings of 46 cents, up from 36 cents and beat estimates for 43 cents. Revenue of $3.14 billion beat estimates for $3.09 billion. Transactions processed rose 23%. They guided for the full year for revenue of $12.78-$12.88 billion with earnings of $1.80-$1.84. Analysts were expecting $12.7 billion and $1.79. Paypal added 6.5 million accounts to total 210 million customers. The company said they were on track to add 25 million new accounts in 2017.

Expected earnings Oct 25th.

The company recently announced partnership deals with Baidu, Bank of America, Visa, JP Morgan, Facebook and Apple. They have changed their focus from disruptor to partner where they can process more transactions through the partners. The Baidu partnership will connect them to 700 million Chinese shoppers and 17 million Paypal merchants. The deal with Apple to allow Paypal in the iTunes store, AppStore and Apple Music will connect them to more than 1 billion IOS devices worldwide. The Facebook partnership gives them access to 2.01 billion users.

Pacific Crest Securities said their market cap of $71 billion does not make them too big to be acquired by a larger bank. Even Amazon has been mentioned as a possible acquirer.

Update 8/13/17: Paypal said it was acquiring Swift Financial, a small business lender and the transaction would close by the end of 2017. No terms were given. This will extend Paypal's reach for financing services. Paypal already has a working capital unit since 2013 and they have loaned more than $3 billion to small businesses.

Update 8/21/17: Paypal said payment platform Venmo was on track with expectations. The platform processed $8 billion in payment volume, a 103% YoY increase. Thanks to recent agreements with MC/V, users will be able to transfer money directly from their accounts to credit/debit cards, which will become a big selling point. The new "Pay with Venmo" platform that will allow users to make purchases at retail locations is in test mode with Lululemon, Athletica and Forever 21 already accepting those payments. This is turning into another big revenue stream for Paypal.

Update 9/24/17: Evercore ISI reiterated a buy rating and raised the price target from $68 to $81. The company has $7 billion in cash and it looking for bolt on acquisitions that will be immediately accretive to earnings and continue to expand the brand.

Update 10/1/17: Bernstein wrote a piece on potential acquisition candidates by PayPal. Square (SQ) was a potential target. Bernstein article

Position 7/31/17:

Long Jan 2019 $65 call @ $6.27, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

VAR - Varian Medical Systems Company Profile


No specific news. Varian shares returned to prior resistance. Looking for a breakout after earnings on Wednesday.

Original Trade Description: October 1st.

Varian Medical Systems, Inc. designs, manufactures, sells, and services medical devices and software products for treating cancer and other medical conditions worldwide. It operates through two segments, Oncology Systems and Imaging Components. The Oncology Systems segment provides hardware and software products for treating cancer with radiotherapy, fixed field intensity-modulated radiation therapy, image-guided radiation therapy, volumetric modulated arc therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery, stereotactic body radiotherapy, and brachytherapy. Its products include linear accelerators, brachytherapy afterloaders, treatment simulation, verification equipment, and accessories; and information management, treatment planning, image processing, clinical knowledge exchange, patient care management, decision-making support, and practice management software. This segment serves university research and community hospitals, private and governmental institutions, healthcare agencies, physicians' offices, oncology practices, radiotherapy centers, and cancer care clinics. The Imaging Components segment offers X-ray imaging components for use in radiographic or fluoroscopic imaging, mammography, special procedures, computed tomography, computer aided diagnostics, and industrial applications. It also provides Linatron X-ray accelerators, imaging processing software, and image detection products for security and inspection purposes. This segment serves original equipment manufacturers, independent service companies, and end-users. In addition, the company offers products and systems for delivering proton therapy; and develops technologies in the areas of digital X-ray imaging, volumetric and functional imaging, and improved X-ray sources. Company description from FinViz.com.

Expected earnings October 25th.

Varian reported earnings of $1.04 that beat estimates for 95 cents. Revenue of $662.4 million just barely missed estimates for $663.2 million due in part to currency translation issues. They sell their high dollar imaging systems all over the world.

The guided for the current quarter for earnings of $1.15-$1.23 and analysts were expecting $1.18. This should have been positive but the stock fell $6 because of the minor revenue miss.

Shares had rebounded to a new high at $107.87 on Sept 14th but ran into a bout of profit taking that knocked it back to $98. There was no news that would have been negative. It was simply time for portfolio managers to rotate into something else for the next earnigns cycle.

Varian just announced the initial treatments of cancer patients using their new Halcyon radiation system. The first patient had head and neck cancer that required delivery of the treatment to nine different locations. The entire treatment time including setup, imaging, 3 minutes of beam time and patient discharge was only 13 minutes. Typically, a treatment like this using other technology requires 10 minutes of beam time and 20 min of total treatment time, plus it is far less precise.

Varian is delivering state of the art radiation systems all over the world and they are the leading edge in this technology.

The recent decline has taken VAR back to uptrend support and I believe it is time to buy the dip.

Varian does not have LEAPS so I am using the longest dated option available for May 2018.

Position 10/2/17:

Long May $105 call @ $5.40, see portfolio graphic for stop loss.

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